Author Topic: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?  (Read 19441 times)

Offline Artos

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1178
  • Karma: 83
  • Ride life bareback
    • CPT Caveman's Cave
Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« on: March 08, 2010, 12:36:26 AM »
I know this is somewhat subjective, so I will try to be specific.

I want to get into reloading.  My reloading objectives are probably around 100-200 rounds a month in .45ACP and 7.62x39 for my 1911 and my projected AK.  This will be range ammo to build/maintain proficiency and relieve stress.

Ill also want to work up special loads to maximize my 30-30 and my projected M1 Garand.  Probably 200 rnds a year.

Late in the year I plan to add a .44 mag lever/wheel gun combo to the kit.  Another 200 rnds a year or so.

Plus, practice ammo for whatever we wind up getting the wife for CCW, say 50 rnds a month.

That means approx. 400rnds a month production, give or take, in at least 6 calibers.  Eventually, I will want to add some special caliberes I have (32-20 Win, 7.62x54R, etc) and shotshells in 12 GA (another whole set of equip).

For what I would spend on the Dillon RL 550B I could buy the Lee 50th Anniversary kit and several different caliber die kits.  Is the Dillon enough better to justify the money or is the Lee "good nuff" and put the money in accesory tools and componants?

Thanks

Offline jjs72

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 73
  • Karma: 0
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2010, 01:49:17 AM »
CPT Caveman,
I went with RCBS. They good quality product for the price. RCBS wil out last you, and your kids will reload with it. Don't get me wrong i started with a LEE Anniversary set up. It was a good starter point, i ended up giving it to a friend of mine that just got into reloading. I used the LEE set for 10 years.

Offline Artos

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1178
  • Karma: 83
  • Ride life bareback
    • CPT Caveman's Cave
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2010, 03:07:02 AM »
What prompted you to upgrade?  What did you see as the advantage of the new RCBS gear over the Lee stuff you were familiar with?

Offline jjs72

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 73
  • Karma: 0
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2010, 03:56:30 AM »
What prompted you to upgrade?  What did you see as the advantage of the new RCBS gear over the Lee stuff you were familiar with?

The LEE wll put out an accurate round, as will the RCBS. the quality of the product. Lee uses cheaper materials on most of there product. Where Lee uses a strong plastic, RCBS will use cast aluminum or steel. What started my upgrade was, i traded a stripped AR lower for a whole RCBS set up. I think it was a Partner press kit. I saw the quality of the product, and then decided to phase out the LEE stuff for RCBS. Price point, LEE would be a good choice. I would get RCBS when i got the chance. Boils down to personal preference i guess.

PS: Thanks for serving.. Iam a Vet myself..

Offline cohutt

  • non semper erit aestas
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 5192
  • Karma: 182
  • Don't Give Up Your Keys
    • Behind cohutt's Fence
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2010, 04:48:19 AM »
Given the projected low round count and multiple calibers a solid single stage or turret press would be a better fit.  (This from a person with 2 Dillons). 

Offline Pathfinder

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2093
  • Karma: 97
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2010, 07:18:41 AM »
Dillon's customer service is absolutely A-list, top-notch. For that alone I would recommend the Dillon. But then, I fell into a very inexpensive (gently used) Dillon that came loaded with extra cost stuff - extra dies, powder sensor, etc. Besides, you can get their calendars without owning a press!  ;D

For the low round count, I would agree, look to something else. That round count will take forever to recoup your payment on a Dillon. I defer to the others on the Lee and RCBS. Hornady also makes one.

But I would also re-visit the low round count, especially the wife's CCW practice. If you're only practicing 200 rounds a month, you probably aren't practicing enough. Granted, you have training with Uncle Sam that probably brought you to a level where you only need periodic refreshers - but most of us would consider 200 rounds a week to be barely sufficient to maintain proficiency. Just a thought.

Offline Artos

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1178
  • Karma: 83
  • Ride life bareback
    • CPT Caveman's Cave
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2010, 09:15:34 AM »
Lee will probably be the intial investment.  If I go to Dillon later at least all the dies will still work.

I wish I thought we would shoot more, but between her homeschooling 4 little ones and my being in school full time to learn Dari..and given the probable scarcity of ranges in CA..I HOPE to shoot that much.  And since my assignement after that will either be to India (guns and stuff on loan to my brother) or Pakistan (plenty of target practice ;)..I have to balance this part of prepping with food and other preps.

Offline jawjaboy

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 186
  • Karma: 11
  • Gone but not forgotten
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2010, 11:19:46 AM »
I would agree with Cohutt, with the round count that you would use. I use both Lee and Dillon presses, a 550b and 2 turret presses.

With the Lee Classic turret press, I can turn out 150-200 rounds per hour with ease. With the Lee Deluxe turret press I can do about 125 rounds per hour. With the Dillon 550b, I can almost double the rounds per hour count over the Classic turret.

Caliber changeover on the Lee turret press is a snap, takes me less than 1 minute. Caliber changeover on the Dillon takes a good bit more time. Initial cost for caliber changes is factor too. The Lee changeover cost is about 4 times less than that of Dillon.

Primer size changeover is another factor, less than 1 minute on the Lee, much longer on the Dillon.

The Classic Turret is a well built press. If you are satisfied with 150-200 rounds per hour, this is the route that I would recommend.

To repeat again...I have and use both.

Offline Ragnar

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 88
  • Karma: 5
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2010, 11:42:11 AM »
It is not a bad idea to start with a single stage, that way you get the experience and concentrate on one stage at at time. We you want to up your production a Dillion is awesome! Customer service is Awesome!  I had a part break on my Dillon (at the time loading about 2K rounds a week) and had a training class coming up. I called them and told then I needed to order a new piece "said not problem we will put one in the mail" I asked how much " nothing". Then I ended up getting a last min work assignment in Phoenix so I stopped by the Dillon store. I brought the broken part with me to make sure that I had described the correct piece (I had) the guy at the counter said "I'll be right back" and went and got me a new part. I told him that they already had one in the mail to me and he said " take the one now and keep the other". Again for no charge. Now that is the only (knock on wood) piece that has ever broken and I assure you I have loaded some rounds out of my 650.

Offline Stein

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1862
  • Karma: 66
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2010, 10:15:10 PM »
The Lee Anniversary kit is on sale at Midway USA for $81 and the only thing you need is dies which are also on sale.  For that price you really can't beat it.

I just bought the classic turret and picked up some other sale items at Midway yesterday.  For the turret or single stage, the Lee seemed to have the higher value.  I do enjoy a bit finer finish but the choice right now was Lee or nothing.  The classic turret seems to fit the bill perfectly until there is a reason to get something else and the only way I can see that happening is if I start shooting much more than I do know and somehow have a wad of cash laying around.

Offline Dawgus

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1818
  • Karma: 89
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2010, 08:37:56 AM »
 Everyone has had great responses and there isn't really anything to add other than opinions or preferences. I use a Dillon and an RCBS Rockcrusher I've had for years and love them both.

 Being new to reloading, I would really reccomend going with a single stange press before moving into a progressive/multi stage/turret. You will be more apt to take your time and pay attention to each stage of the process. You can watch each stage of the reloading process one at a time, learning what each does, why it does what it does, and paying more attention to each than trying to watch multiple cartridges at the same time. Look at it like Jack talks about with starting with a bolt action rifle before moving on to a semi-auto. Learn the basics first then move on as you learn and get more comfortable with it.

 Just my 2cents worth...

Offline cohutt

  • non semper erit aestas
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 5192
  • Karma: 182
  • Don't Give Up Your Keys
    • Behind cohutt's Fence
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2010, 07:51:58 PM »
I started reloading with 223 on a Dillon 550; there is some merit to what dawgus suggests.  ;) If you start on a progressive, start with a pistol caliber at least.


Offline joeinwv

  • The Bee Whisperer
  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2579
  • Karma: 92
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2010, 08:49:28 PM »
For the volume you want to load, if that is real, you will never need more than a single stage Lee press.

Get the anniversary kit - when you decide you need to load 2000 rounds at a sitting, get the Dillon.

Offline RipTombstone

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 376
  • Karma: 9
    • Plum Creek Leather Works
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2010, 09:34:43 PM »
I started out on the Lee Anniversary Kit almost 9 years ago now. I loaded .243, 45 Colt, and 38 Special on it for years. It took so long to load it all, that I didnt get much shooting done. I just didnt have enough ammo made up to go out and make it worthwhile.
The hunting rounds were no problem to get caught up on, but the 45s and 38s it seemed I never had them all done.

I eventually got a Dillon 550B, and I love that thing to death. I have so much extra ammo stockpiled now, that I can go shoot, and go compete as well.

For your ammo needs, a single stage would probably work. I upgraded my Lee to an RCBS RC about a year ago, and it is twice the press the Lee is. I got it and the powder measure in the box as new, for 75 at a gun show.

Another thing about the Lee kit.. the only accessories I use from that kit now, is the book and sometimes the press. The beam scale was awful to use in my opinion, especially when there are reasonably priced digital scales now. The powder measure is back in the box too, but it was alright. I just have several others now.

Dont get the cheaper priced Lee C-press. I broke mine in half the first time I used it.

RipT

Offline uspsa4553

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 10
  • Karma: 0
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2010, 10:51:32 AM »
I own a Dillon and I love it.  For small amounts of ammo a Lee or RCBS would pprobably suffice.

If you anticipate shooting large amounts go with Dillon.

Offline Rockhound

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 11
  • Karma: 1
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2010, 07:13:13 PM »
I would agree with Cohutt, with the round count that you would use. I use both Lee and Dillon presses, a 550b and 2 turret presses.

With the Lee Classic turret press, I can turn out 150-200 rounds per hour with ease. With the Lee Deluxe turret press I can do about 125 rounds per hour. With the Dillon 550b, I can almost double the rounds per hour count over the Classic turret.

Caliber changeover on the Lee turret press is a snap, takes me less than 1 minute. Caliber changeover on the Dillon takes a good bit more time. Initial cost for caliber changes is factor too. The Lee changeover cost is about 4 times less than that of Dillon.

Primer size changeover is another factor, less than 1 minute on the Lee, much longer on the Dillon.

The Classic Turret is a well built press. If you are satisfied with 150-200 rounds per hour, this is the route that I would recommend.

To repeat again...I have and use both.

+1   :)

Offline ubergeek

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 317
  • Karma: 14
  • Numquam non paratus
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2010, 09:04:32 AM »
I'll pretty much echo what others have said. I started with a RCBS single stage press in order to learn the tricks of the craft. Also, it was a much lower initial investment to ensure that I enjoyed it. Once I really started to enjoy it and wanted to crank out more ammo per loading session, I went with a Dillon 650. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the 650, I can really crank out some rounds with that thing. Their customer service is absolutely no BS, any problem I've ever had I just call and they fix...period. I will say.....it takes like 10 times as long to change over a caliber, even with the quick change set,  but give how much more ammo I can crank out per hour, it's still no contest.

One thing that my prepper mentality did to me as well, when I first got into reloading....I made sure I had a manual everything. Meaning, manual scale, non-digital caliper, manual trimmer, etc. That stuff is all stored away in boxes hoping I'll never need it again....and I've moved to better electrically powered stuff, digital scales...except I still love my regular caliper. I wanted to learn how to do it as low tech as possible before going high end....besides, I geek out on stuff like that.


Offline outdoorman63

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 119
  • Karma: 2
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2010, 09:24:39 AM »
we use a Lee Turrent press for pistol rounds and common rifle loads and a lee single stage for specialty rounds, havent had any problems with them...

Offline r1kk1

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 83
  • Karma: 1
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2010, 06:50:16 AM »
Yes.

I bought my 550B and have lost count at over 100,000 rounds pumped through it. It seems like everyone and his brother come over to reload. I work in the operating room and some of the docs have class III weapons and blow through ammo. A 1050 with a bullet feeder would suit them but these guys are tight wads and eccentric. Make 7 figures a year and use my stuff, whatever. Good guys though.

Just my .02 cents . . .

I have a love/hate relationship with Lee.

Their reloading manual touts the superiority of Lee's equipment, personal opinions and regurgitated Hodgdon data. I have never seen a reloading equipment manufacturer spend as much time attacking another. I collect data manuals. What makes the Lee manual 2nd edition unusual and great is the ability to understand cast bullet hardness and which powders can be reduced for starting to ending loads. Bravo Richard for providing this much needed information!

LOVE their collet dies especially the custom ones!
LOVE their bullet sizing dies especially the custom ones!
LOVE their custom case trimmers in the length I need for a particular chamber!
LOVE the "third hand" sprue cutter on their six cavity moulds!
LOVE their hand press and lee loader!
LOVE their custom FCD dies in what I need!

I have older Lee dies and have to mount the nut to the bottom of the shell plate on my Dillon for them to work. I do not have many Lee dies but have others from Lyman, CH4D, Hornady, Redding, RCBS, Bonanza, Neil Jones, etc.

What I hate:
I have had their turret presses in the past with plastic parts breaking and sold them. I have a Challenger and C-press that will be sold when the CO-AX press is finally setup on the bench. The Challenger linkage has broken several times sizing brass, and it has a ton of lateral slop in it. Not impressed. The new cast presses from Lee look like winner. I remember the ads where they thinned the legs on a press to resize brass and claimed you didn't need the strength and others are overkill. Wonder why they have a C-H press in their shop? Cheap shot I know. I hate it that they state don't use Federal or Remington primers in their tools just Winchester and CCI. I wish they would say that their priming tools where not safe with others primers rather than attack a component company. Primers have different brilliance. That's why there are different ones. Benchrest shooters would not go without Federal primers and now it seems like there is a trend towards Winchester and CCI standard primers in
BPCR, but I digress. These times are hard today and now we have Fiocchi, MagTech, Wolf and others newcomers to the scene. I have never owned a tool that dictated to me what components I could and could not use. I hate their Perfect Powder measure.

Dillon is not without certain quirks also. Their .45 funnel die I believe is the wrong angle. If you load .45 acp brass will sometimes stick in the die and require a sharp rap on the handle to disengage. I understand different makes of brass are different thickness but this problem can be solved. I talked with Dave at CH4D and he can titanium nitride it and maybe change the angle so it is not so steep. The Dillon primer slide according to techs just needs to be kept clean but it still sticks. I clean and use graphite on it to keep the primer bar in working order. Will now run 500+ rounds without periodic maintenance.

RCBS has customer service that has always been top notched. Redding and I are fighting right now on opening up their profile crimp die for my Ruger .44-40. I called Lee, RCBS, Redding and Redding said that loading .430 diameter bullets in the .44-40 brass (Starline) will work just fine. Ruger puts .44mag/spl barrels on their Vaqueros in this caliber and a cylinder that mikes out at .427-.428. Cylinder was cheaper to ream than replace the barrel and now Ruger calls me for the gun and I told them problem solved after they ignored me for years. I still love Ruger. Hornady and I have fought about shotgun press parts. The list goes on.

Sorry for the long post. Just my .02 cents and not trying to offend anyone but I'm tired of hearing about "starter tools". Buy what you believe is the best. Teach others to reload and pass it on down!

r1kk1



Offline The Professor

  • Tactical Skittle Assassin
  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2726
  • Karma: 381
  • All we have to do is create another universe
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2010, 10:28:11 AM »
My answer is a mix of what you've already heard:

Yes. But. . .I've had a Dillon 550 for probably  15 or more years and I love it as far as being able to produce tons of ammo in a short time.

However, I have both a Rock Chucker and Sinclair press for when I want to really be precise. 

As to which one is better for you?  No idea.  I tend to go a bit overboard with stuff.  If I were to do it again, I'd probably go for a Dillon 650 for volume.  Truth is, you can do precision work with the Dillon, too.  But they're truly made for higher-volume reloading.

While there are times when I actually want to sit down and carefully measure each powder charge, check the concentricity on each finished round, ensure that the primers are seated exactly the same depth and crimp each case precisely. . . I don't want to do it all the time.  That's why I have the 550.  I can do all of these things, but it's just not as convenient as with a single-stage.

The Professor

Offline r1kk1

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 83
  • Karma: 1
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2010, 12:18:47 PM »
Yes I do have an Arbor Press with force gauge from K&M precision, along with primer seating tool with gauge, various Starrett and Mitutoyo measuring devices. I do use a K&M neck turner occasionally and quite a few Sinclair products. I like the JDS Quick Measure as it throws 4831 +- a tenth of a grain. Pretty incredible. I still can't wait to try out the new Bonanza Co-Ax press since I sold the older one and now I can use the micrometer dies from Redding and Neil Jones. I do like Wilson trimmers and Sinclair sent me out one with a micrometer and it rocks. I like Possum Hollow since he is related to Sinclair himself, puts out chamber gauges and assorted what nots.

If I had to do it again:
 If I had to do it again, I would use the same 550B since I like it better than the 350 or 450L (personal opinion) for volume loading. I love the Champion press from CH4D. I would still have a Co-Ax and use the Lee handpress for reloading at hunting camp or bench testing. I will buy the RCBS Chargemaster. I used one and I'm hooked. Incredible machine. I would buy the Walnut Hill swaging press if I didn't have the Champion press. Radical case forming is easy with this press. I would still use the assorted Lee tools that I love.

I'm not made of money just patient. I appreciate the value of well made tools like Snap-on for automotive, Festool for woodworking, etc. I especially like custom made tools and looking to get a set of dies EDM for me. Overkill yes. Just appreciate craftsmanship. My cordless drill died and I bought a Festool to replace it. I saved and went without things to buy it. I'm glad I did. I'm patient.

take care,

r1kk1

Offline Nacinator

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 28
  • Karma: 4
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2010, 02:01:21 AM »
I'll pretty much echo what others have said. I started with a RCBS single stage press in order to learn the tricks of the craft. Also, it was a much lower initial investment to ensure that I enjoyed it. Once I really started to enjoy it and wanted to crank out more ammo per loading session, I went with a Dillon 650. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the 650, I can really crank out some rounds with that thing. Their customer service is absolutely no BS, any problem I've ever had I just call and they fix...period. I will say.....it takes like 10 times as long to change over a caliber, even with the quick change set,  but give how much more ammo I can crank out per hour, it's still no contest.

One thing that my prepper mentality did to me as well, when I first got into reloading....I made sure I had a manual everything. Meaning, manual scale, non-digital caliper, manual trimmer, etc. That stuff is all stored away in boxes hoping I'll never need it again....and I've moved to better electrically powered stuff, digital scales...except I still love my regular caliper. I wanted to learn how to do it as low tech as possible before going high end....besides, I geek out on stuff like that.
+1  Ubergeek you are on the money I have a 650XL but started on RCBS rockchucker my father bought in 1984. The RCBS handles all of my match rifle ammo in .223, 308 and 30-06

Offline jbm555

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 64
  • Karma: 5
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2010, 02:11:30 PM »
For the volume you want to load, if that is real, you will never need more than a single stage Lee press.

Get the anniversary kit - when you decide you need to load 2000 rounds at a sitting, get the Dillon.

I have to agree with this.  It doesn't sound like you're loading enough to justify the cost of a progressive set up.  I loaded several thousand rounds on a Lee press (Anniversary kit) over several years before I "upgraded" to an RCBS (single stage) press. 

By "upgraded" I mean that I got one (actually 2) just because I wanted to and gave the Lee away to someone wanting to start out. 

Even if someone loads almost exclusively on a progressive I don't see how they can do without a single stage.  Especially for load development or for a caliber that they only load a few of. 



OldManSchmidt

  • Guest
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2010, 11:28:33 PM »
Cost vs. load count is subjective.  If his available time is limited enough, the speed of the progressive justifies the cost.  That said, the cost of a Dillon probably would not be justified vs. the cost of the Lee.

I have and still use both Lee and RCBS products.  My Dad uses a Dillon 650XL and loves it.  Then again, when he bought it, he was competing with a vengeance and was firing 20,000 to 30,000 rounds of combined handgun ammo a year.  All are good products and all will handle everything he wishes to load.

I strongly recommend loading rifle ammo with a single stage press.  Range ammo for things like AR's and AK's would be an exception.  In those cases, minute of angle isn't a big deal; minute of bad guy is good enough.  Likewise, handgun ammo used for precision target shooting (not cowboy action or tactical course shooting) and hunting should be single stage loaded.  Regular range ammo and fast action shooting are good candidates for progressive press loading.

Offline r1kk1

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 83
  • Karma: 1
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2010, 08:00:54 AM »
It does not matter if one goes progressive or a turret. A single stage press will come in handy for jobs that would spring lesser presses. I have removed crimped primers, resized oversized brass, sized bullets, etc. with a single stage. I have had Lee's turret press in the past and tore that puppy up forming 7 TCU brass for competition. I have sprung the 550B doing the same thing. I cannot live without a single stage. Period. I have an Anesthesiologist at work that came across some 308 military brass that must have been fired in an oversized chamber. He could not resize this with his turret press. I brought it home, put it in the CO-AX press and viola! It was sized. With hardly any effort. I called him and he came over and he tried it on my Challenger press, broken linkage. Call to Lee and will replace this press with the new classic cast. He tried it on the CO-AX and the only complaint was ergonomics. He tried it on the CH press and loved it. He remarked the CH took one or two fingers to manipulate. He bought a CO-AX to go with his turret.

I cannot live without a cast iron single stage press.

r1kk1

Offline shambo

  • Senior Survivalist
  • ****
  • Posts: 228
  • Karma: 13
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2014, 07:43:53 PM »
Well, I am taking the big plunge.   I just ordered my new Dillon 650xl Saturday.  I've been loading many thousands of rounds on a Rockchucker and I am tired on just how  long it takes to knock out a mere 500 rounds.  I have watched all the u tube videos and talked to many of my friends who have had one for years and everyone to a person says it beats the tar out of any other progressive press out there.  I ordered it with caliber changes for two other rounds.  9mm, 45acp and 223 rem.  I will of course be loading my 450 marlin and 300 win mag,  30-30 rounds on th e RCBS set  up.   ;D

Offline reefmarker

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 486
  • Karma: 24
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2014, 09:17:53 PM »
My $0.02.

Don't let customer service play into this.  I have had nothing but fantastic service from Lee, RCBS and Hornady.  I can only assume Dillon has fantastic service also, I haven't gotten anything from Dillon.  My advise to anyone is if your reloading stuff breaks or doesn't seem to work correctly call the manufacturer.  They will often times send you parts or give you knowledge for free!

I originally bought a Lock N Load kit from Hornady just because it was the cheapest kit with almost everything I needed.

I spend most of my rifle reloading time on case prep and very little time on the press, so I don't think it would matter much what press I had.  It takes a long time to clean brass, lubricate, knock out primer & Resize, cut down to size, debur, clean out primer pocket, ream out military crimp (if present), measure everything... The actual act of priming, tossing in powder and putting a projectile on top seems to be the least time consuming of all (after the dies and powder throw are setup).  So from everything ready and getting 100 to 500 rounds per hour with a progressive, vs. 100 rounds per hour with a single stage just doesn't seem to matter to me.  Your mileage may very.  I am speeding things up a little over time, I bought a couple of case trimmers from little crow (amazing), and an RCBS case prep center.  But, overall the better faster things only save my hands from all the repetitive motions, they don't speed things up radically. 

I do 100's of rounds at a time with 250 probably being the most ever in one sitting, all with my little hornady lock n load press.  So far, 9 mm, 380 auto, .40 S&W, .223, 300 blackout. 

Offline NWPilgrim

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1605
  • Karma: 114
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2014, 12:48:13 AM »
Agree with reefmaker that that most rifle loading a single stage or turret is as fast as I need since I spend much more time on case prep: deprime, wet tumble, lube case and neck, size, trim, debur, swage primer pocket if needed, dry tumble with polish.  By the time I get back to the press for loading it is just prime, charge, seat.  And half the time for rifle I am working up test ladders for some new combination of powder and bullet so I use the turret in single stage mode anyway.  Usually I am only loading 100-200 rounds for rifle at a time.

.38 and .44 I don't shoot that many rounds at a time so a single stage or turret press is just fine. usually only load 50-100 rds a ta time for those.

Now pistol cartridges, that is where a progressive really can go to town. No case prep except cleaning, and crank out 200-1,000 rds .  I've known guys that shoot competitively and practice shooting 2,000 - 5,000 rds PER WEEK.  For that you got to have a solid progressive press and most of them I know all chose Dillon. Practically anything Dillon makes is going to be super strong and oversized.  Most guys I know with Dillon have one for each pistol caliber and .223.  Usually 2-5 Dillon presses.  They say it is rather involved to change calibers when you have the case feeder, powder measure, primer feeder, bullet feeder, powder check die and all tuned in.  The Hornady Lock and Load seems like it might be simpler if you plan to use one press for all calibers.

I got by with a Lee challenger single stage for almost 20 years, and then upgraded to the Classic Turret and that loads about as fast as I need.  I admit though that when loading up big batches of .40 and 9mm I ponder getting a progressive.

Congrats on your Dillon press, Shambo!  I'm sure you will really enjoy that piece of sturdy, quality equipment.

Offline hackmeister

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 406
  • Karma: 14
  • Beer, linux and prepping!
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2014, 06:31:06 AM »
I've had a Dillon RL550B since February and love it. So far I've cranked out thousands of rounds of .45 ACP, 9mm and .38/.357 without issue. I'll be doing rifle rounds in the next few months. My only gripe with Dillon are the caliber conversion kits that you have to get for $45 a pop whenever expanding to a new caliber.


Switching calibers takes about 5 minutes (less if you don't have to swap out the primer feeder tube).

Offline Knecht

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1090
  • Karma: 48
  • Czech emissary at TSP forum
Re: Is Dillon worth the money over Lee?
« Reply #29 on: September 10, 2014, 02:40:56 PM »
I have a Lee turret press (two years maybe?) and use it mainly for 9x19 and .40SW. Also did .357 before I sold my Ruger GP100.  Sometimes I also make a batch of 7,65 Browning (.32Auto as you call it) for my wife's vz.61. Can't say too much negative about Lee so far. Nothing broke, except of a worn decapping needle on a pre-used 9mm die set I bought for beginning. What I think could be somewhat better engineered is the tilting priming tool - it tends to fall out on me sometimes.
I'd also highly recommend getting the "Pro Auto Disc" powder feeder, as the regular one is quite clumsy and the screws in plastic wear out soon. I got all the basic press set pre-owned and this was already worn, so I soon upgraded to the Pro version.